Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Robert Dolan


A large body of literature has studied the achievement gap between white and minority groups in the United States. This paper contributes to this discussion by conducting a cross-sectional study of Virginia using data for 2011-2012. I analyze the impact of race/ethnicity (White, Black, Hispanic) on school district pass rates conditional on income per capita, population density, and a cohort effect in each school district. I find that the magnitude of the gap is largest in 3rd grade and smallest in 5th grade. There are little differences between Black-White gaps and Hispanic-White gaps. The gaps are neither widening nor narrowing between 3rd and 8th grade. The pass rates are lowest in math and highest in science. Hispanic students generally do worse in English than Black students perhaps due to the language and cultural barriers. Income per capita and the cohort effect are generally statistically significant and quantitatively significant.

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Economics Commons